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FILM FANS: 'Escape Plan' not the best, but fun

EDITOR’S NOTE: Film Fans features residents reviewing the movie of the week: “Escape Plan.” Want to be a film fan? Email features@gwinnettdailypost.com.

2 out of 4 stars

“Escape Plan”starts out strong with an interesting introduction and continues onto the crux of the story with an impressive, seemingly impermeable prison with glass walled cells where prisoners cannot escape the eyes of security. It gets a bit far fetched when the plans to escape are developed a little too easily for such a one of a kind, maximum security prison. Sylvester Stallone’s character is an expert at this sort of stuff, but still it could have been made into more of a challenge for him.

Also far-fetched is how minimal security is for a maximum-security prison. Guards sport futuristic get-ups but there are not many of them when they are needed most, such as at meal time where prisoners are allowed to cavort freely. At this point, the plausibility of it all falters and the plot lulls a bit. Even so, and despite Stallone’s character continuing to make escaping seem like a piece of cake, the story is still good enough to keep your attention.

Co-star Arnold Schwarzenegger may not be the best actor, but he knows how to deliver laugh-out-loud one-liners. Stallone on the other hand needs to take himself less seriously and maybe crack a smile or tell a joke every now and then.

Jim Caviezel is effective as the emotionless warden but fans of Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson may be disappointed with his minimal and mostly filler role.

This is not the best of Stallone or Schwarzenegger, but it is OK if you need a two-hour “escape.”

— Francine Benoit, Lawrenceville

3 and 1/2 out of 4 stars

“Escape Plan” teams together two of the greatest action stars from the past with Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Stallone plays Ray Breslin, an expert who works with the Federal Bureau of Prisons to test for security flaws by going undercover in the prison and then breaking out. He is offered a lucrative job to test a new CIA facility off the books called The Tome, designed for the world’s most dangerous criminals and terrorists but finds out he has been double-crossed.

Breslin befriends fellow prisoner Emil Rottmayer (Schwarzenegger) to help him with his plan to break out. The two are tormented by the villainous Warden Hobbes, played by Jim Caviezel, as they study the prison patterns and plot their escape. The movie also has other well-known stars in small parts such as Amy Ryan and Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson as Ray’s support team and Sam Neill as the prison doctor. Director Mikael Hafstrom keeps the storyline simple with a nice blend of cool prison sets, intelligent and slightly plausible escape plans with fight and action scenes both stars are known for. The movie brings some mystery in the plot that keeps you interested throughout but has a few twists that you see coming at the end. Being a fan of Schwarzenegger and Stallone movies as a kid, it was still a fun ride and blast from the past to finally see them in a movie together.

“Escape Plan” certainly won’t win any awards but it’s worth some nostalgic fun for the two-hour ride.

— Ken Gamble, Lawrenceville

3 out of 4 stars

“Escape Plan” is a fall sleeper, don’t get fooled with the Governator and Rocky. It is not a retired, but extremely dangerous AARP flick. You might have seen the trailers or read about the movie and, based on those, you could dismiss this movie. Don’t!

It is an intelligent prison escape drama with twists all the way to the end. The film follows the story of Sylvester Stallone’s character Ray Breslin — who specializes in finding the way out of prisons and who wrote the book on prison design and how to avoid design errors he has found while escaping from federal prisons. His firm is asked to test the ultimate prison and he agrees. Flash forward to waterboarding, CIA secret prisons and international terrorism and the movie goes on to the secret location for this jail built for the worst of the worst. And that’s just in the first few minutes.

The Governator takes over from there as inmate Emil Rottmayer and utters some new phrases for posterity during the movie. The movie is acceptable. A definite must see in DVD if you are not into going to the big screen and you like retro actors.

— Alfred Richner, Duluth